Seraphim are impressive beings! Can you imagine six-winged creatures so powerful the sound of their voices makes a building shake? I’ve been to rock concerts where the music made my shirt vibrate and my ears ache. But even at that volume, the foundation didn’t shake. Can you imagine how loud their voices must have been?
Now imagine these six-winged creatures appearing in the mall food court, proclaiming the gospel like Peter in Acts 2 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1–8; namely, that humans are separated from God by sin, that God loved us enough to send his Son as a human to die in our place for our sin and rise again and that now each person needs to respond by turning from their sin, asking God’s forgiveness and surrendering control to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be impressive?
And yet, God didn’t send these angels with his message to the rebellious people of Judah. Instead, he asked for volunteers – and sent Isaiah.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
“And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
“He said, ‘Go and tell this people…’” (Isaiah 6:8–9).
Why did God choose Isaiah when he had much more impressive beings at his command, especially since God knew in advance that the people wouldn’t listen to his messenger?
Even though the angels are perfectly capable of communicating God’s message – as they did to the shepherds on Christmas night – God has chosen to partner with humans in the communication of the gospel. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus says. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).
Why has God chosen humans instead of angels as messengers of the gospel? There’s something we, in our frailty, can do that angels can’t.
Jesus says, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22–23). When humans allow God’s power to so fill us that we lay aside our selfishness, bitterness and pride to become united with one another, that collective act is so supernatural it proves to the rest of the world that Jesus came from God and God loves them.
How would angels be able to do that?
What does this say about whether you need to be a part of a faith community? Are there any relationships in your church that you need to work on in order to communicate to the hurting world around you the good news that Jesus came from God and that God loves them? (Incidentally, Isaiah also went as part of a faith community. See Isaiah 8:16–18.)
God chose you over the house-shaking angels to be his messengers of good news. And his preferred method is to send you as part of a united, Jesus-focused faith community.
—Marvin Dyck is pastor at Crossroads MB Church, Winnipeg.